General Motors is officially launching the world’s first electric vehicle with extended-range capability today at a launch ceremony at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant.
According to GM, 200 consumer cars have already been built and will be sold in California, New York, Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Connecticut.
EPA estimates say the 2011 Chevrolet Volt can run for 35 miles on electric power before switching to its gasoline engine and rates the car's fuel economy at an equivalent of 93 miles per gallon while under electric power and 37 mpg under gasoline power. The combined estimate puts the vehicle in the 60 miles per gallon range (mpge + mpg) of fuel economy, with a total range at nearly 400 miles.
GM CEO Dan Akerson will host the event today, and the car will be rolled out to additional markets over 12 to 18 months with a sticker price of $41,000 before a $7,500 federal tax credit. Many shoppers will compare the vehicle to the electric-only Nissan Leaf, which has been given a 99 mpge rating by the EPA.
Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid pushed back on plans to vote on natural gas and electric vehicle legislation earlier this month, Reid’s office and Sen. Orrin Hatch both expressed hopes that it would still be voted on before the end of the year, provided that they find an agreed-upon way to pay for it.